Friday, June 29, 2012

Castagnaccio, Vegan, gluten and sugar free chestnut flour cake

First of all I have to inform you that I was raised on chestnuts, and chestnut flour. We made many things with the flour, mostly fritters (you can find the recipe here) and castagnaccio. There are so many versions of castagnaccio, the main being just chestnut flour and water, with a pinch of salt (optional) and a sprig of rosemary on the top. The best thing is that chestnut flour is naturally sweet, and that you just need water to mix it, making it the perfect low fat (chestnuts are the only low fat nuts) high protein, gluten free and vegan treat!

I mixed chestnut flour with enough water to make a batter, and this time I added 2 tbsp of cocoa (cocoa also go well with chestnuts) and a very small pinch of salt. No sugar needed. Pour the batter into a large baking pan lined with baking paper and bake everything at 180°C until the cake is ready (about 20 minutes, check with a toothpick). Let it cool down before serving. Unfortunately I forgot to take the photo on the first day, so this was the morning after and the top of the castagnaccio had cracked like a dry desert... but it was still great for breakfast :-).

Photos and Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, June 22, 2012

Award, pass it on!

Shells from Anawhata beach, New Zealand,
Alessandra Zecchini ©

One Lovely Blog Award

I would like to thank Rika of Vegan Miam for this award! I am now passing it on, and these are the rules: 
  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
  • Tell them 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award.
  • Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.
  • Resume blogging your regular posts.

Seven facts about me:

- I’m Italian and I live in New Zealand
- My favourite vegetables are porcini mushrooms... but technically they aren't vegetables :-).
- My favorite fruit is mango.
- My favorite ingredient is olive oil, I often travel with a small bottle to add to my salads.
- I love cooking, reading and traveling.
- I like to eat colorful food.
- I am a keen forager ;-).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Green Cauliflower and Red Radicchio

What do vegetarians eat? Lots of vegetables! Some people call it rabbit food, I don't know why, I swear to you that we are not rabbits!  Let's start with the red radicchio, my brother made this: cut the red radicchio into strips and place onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and dried oregano (he says that dried thyme is better but we didn't have any).  Bake until the red par of the leaves is crispy (and most of the bitterness is gone!).

 And what about this lovely green cauliflower? I think that green cauliflowers taste 'sweeter' than the white ones, and this one did! I just boiled it al dente, let it cool down and dressed it with extra virgin olive oil, salt and Aceto Balsamico di Modena. Simple but perfect!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini and her brother ©

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kumara and Celery Soup

This is such a classic NZ soup, everybody seems to know how to make this one: You just need some kumara (I used the red ones, peeled). Cook about 2 large kumara with 3 or 4 celery sticks (with leaves, most Kiwis do not add the leaves here, but celery leaves have lots of flavour and they are perfect for soup) in a litre of light vegetable stock. When the celery and kumara are soft blend well and serve. 

Serves 4.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©